Why I’m a Christian
My religion is not a club to join or a school of thought. It’s a relationship with God.
I have been told by many people there are only a few reasons someone could be a Christian.
“You’re a Christian because you grew up in a Christian home,” someone has remarked. “You’re a Christian because you need a spiritual crutch to get through life and death,” I’ve heard. “You want to feel good about yourself and the world around you. That’s why you’re a Christian.” Or my favorite, “You grew up in America. If you grew up in India, you would have believed in something else.”
These statements, and many more like them, have been hurled at me for the bulk of my life, but they don’t tell the truth as to why I’m a Christian.
The Church Was a Big Part of My Young Life
To begin, I will state that I did grow up in a Christian home. I was even a homeschooler, which means my prom consisted of a lot of corny Christian music and no one air humped on the dance floor the way the public school graduates were commemorating their final year of high school. And as far as I know, the virginity of zero graduates was lost that night either.
And yes, the church was a big part of my life. My parents took me nearly every week. Mission trips were the norm, and I still recall building a church out of stucco and chicken wire in the middle of Juarez, Mexico, at the age of 15. That was, of course, two years before the drug cartels came in, took over and wreaked havoc in the same place we were serving.
Suffice it to say, the church community and all things Jesus were ubiquitous to my experience growing up. However, I am now in my third decade of life, and I would genuinely contend I am not a Christian for the aforementioned reasons. That is, my conservative upbringing, my church attendance, my Christian education, mission trips, camps, etc. are not the reason I am a Christian today.
It’s also important to mention that over half of the kids I grew up with, many of whom had the same experience and upbringing as myself, have either gone through a “crisis of faith” or have lost their faith entirely and claim to be agnostic or atheistic today.
My Father Found Jesus Through Eavesdropping
Let’s jump into Marty McFly’s DeLorean for just a moment. I want to take you back to the 1980s when my father was about 20 years old. He grew up in a home with a nominal Catholic religious influence. I don’t think it’s fair to my Catholic friends to say he belonged to that faith or had any religious beliefs himself. So, let’s just say he was a dude living for the next thrill. His gods were basically beer cans, girls and joints. Maybe not in that order.
While working one day, he overheard a conversation between two co-workers talking about Jesus Christ. One of the women was proclaiming the gospel to another co-worker. She was talking about the sacrifice Christ made on the cross to pay the punishment for the sins of the world. My father was intrigued, so he continued eavesdropping on the conversation. He listened to what she had to say. It was as if the wind was blowing inside him, revealing the truth behind her words, and he was left with no excuse but to listen and believe what she said.
Unbeknownst to the woman, my father darted for the bathroom, got down in front of the stall on his knees and asked the God he had spent all his life offending to forgive him of his sins. He then accepted and believed in the lordship of Christ.
The next day, my father told the woman he had listened to her conversation and told her he repented of his sins and wanted to know more about what to do now with his life. Shocked, the woman confessed to my dad, “You’re the last person in this office I expected to know and believe in Jesus.” My father was considered to be a troublemaker, and most people in the office knew he had a reputation for being a scoundrel.
Fast-forward about a decade later. I’m five years old, standing with my father by a fence in our backyard painting. Nice, little, innocent me, with a paintbrush in one hand and a Capri Sun in the other. My father then tells me the gospel of Christ. I respond by asking Jesus to forgive my sins and I recognize him as lord of my life.
The Reason for My Faith Is Deeply Embedded
The dichotomy between our lives was vast. Our ages when we recognized Christ as savior and placed our faith in him were disparate, and our experiences in life had nothing in common. So, what is it about this religion called Christianity? Why am I a Christian today?
For a simple answer, let me just say I am a Christian because the God of the universe made it so. As outlandish and potentially backward as that sounds, let me explain. All religions, including atheism (which ironically is a religion since it is the worship of the self), state that man must search for God. Christianity, however, is God’s search for man. All religions apart from Christianity look to the self for salvation. But the work of man never saved anyone. Only the work of Christ on the cross, through his death, burial and resurrection, can save a person. Christianity is not a club to join or a school of thought. It is a relationship with God, who created all things.
I would in no way choose a God who demands my life and allegiance unless he was drawing me to himself. And that is exactly what he has done. Not by my own willpower and sheer determination did I approach God, repent of sin and become a Christian.
I am a Christian because in the eternity of the past, this God chose me to believe in himself and I responded to his call. If that sounds crazy, I agree. It’s gloriously crazy.